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The artist Cui Fei talks about Manuscript of Nature V, her site-specific installation for the Art Wall on Third exhibition series at the Mid-Manhattan Library. Christopher Howard, an independent curator and critic, joins her to discuss the installation, her influences, and the creative processes behind her work.
Born in Jinan, China, Cui Fei uses simple natural materials such as twigs, thorns, leaves, and tendrils to create wall installations and works on paper that explore memory, history, and especially language. Trained as a painter, she earned a BFA from the China Academy of Fine Arts before coming to the United States to pursue an MFA at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, which she received in 2001. Cui’s work has been exhibited in New York at the Museum of Chinese in America, the Queens Museum of Art, and the Bronx Museum of Arts, and nationally at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, and the New Britain Museum of American Art. Her work has also been shown internationally in Germany, England, China, and South Korea. Her first one person museum exhibition is on view through November 6 at the Warehouse Gallery at Syracuse University. Cui is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and the New York Foundation for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship.
An independent critic and curator, Christopher Howard is managing editor at the College Art Association, a nonprofit art organization that supports the teaching of visual art and art history in higher education. He earned a BA in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville and is finishing an MA in art history at Hunter College, City University of New York. Howard has written on art and music for Artforum.com, the Brooklyn Rail, Art Notes, and the Art Book, among other publications. Since 2006 he has organized critically praised exhibitions in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including Crystal Wagner: Hybrid Jungle at Famous Accountants, Enantiomorphic Chamber at NURTUREart (with Kevin Regan), The Pursuit of Happiness at Sarah Bowen Gallery, and The Early Show: Video from 1969–79 at the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery at Hunter (with Constance De Jong and fellow students). Howard included Cui’s work in Well Read, also at NURTUREart, and wrote about it in a review of the Queens International 2004.
Initiated in 2004, Artist Dialogues Series provide a forum for understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Artists are paired with critics, curators, gallerists, writers or other artists to converse about art and the potential of exploring new ideas.